Happiness and Well-Being.Happy peopletend to be productive and law-abiding and also tend to learn well, thus having a positive impact on society. A review of the research shows that Religion significantly affects the level of an individual's happiness and overall sense of well-being. In the vast majority of the studies reviewed, an increase in religious practice was associated with having greater hope and a greater sense of purpose in life.
There are pessimists who hold that such a state of affairs is necessarilyinherent in human nature; it is those who propound such views that arethe enemies of true religion, for they imply thereby that religious teachingsare utopian ideals and unsuited to afford guidance in human affairs. Thestudy of the social patterns in certain so-called primitive cultures, however,seems to have made it sufficiently evident that such a defeatist view iswholly unwarranted. Whoever is concerned with this problem, a crucial onein the study of religion as such, is advised to read the description ofthe Pueblo Indians in Ruth Benedict's book, .Under the hardest living conditions, this tribe has apparently accomplishedthe difficult task of delivering its people from the scourge of competitivespirit and of fostering in it a temperate, cooperative conduct of life,free of external pressure and without any curtailment of happiness.
In a review of mental health research that referenced decades of social science studies, 81 percent of the 99 studies reviewed found "some positive association…between religious involvement and greater happiness, life satisfaction, morale, positive affect, or some other measure of well-being." This analysis included a wide diversity among ages, races, and denominations.
Mothers' religious practice is also an influence in reducing the likelihood that children will become delinquent. Each unit increase in a mother's religious practice is associated with a 9 percent decline in her child's delinquency. The adolescents at lowest risk for delinquency typically have highly religious mothers and are themselves highly religious. Even in cases in which young people have become involved in deviant behavior, specific types of religious activity can help to steer them back on the right course and away from further criminal activity. In addition, evidence indicates that religious involvement during adolescence has a cumulative effect and thus may significantly reduce the likelihood that a young person will commit crimes in adulthood.